MassDevelopment Bond Helps Gardner Human Services Organization Expand with New Commercial Space

November 1, 2016


​Meggie Quackenbush, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2011 & 857-208-2777 (cell)

Shawn Hayden, GAAMHA, Inc., 978-632-0934 x307

MassDevelopment has issued a $1.3 million tax-exempt bond on behalf of GAAMHA Inc., an organization dedicated to supporting people with developmental disabilities and substance abuse disorders in Gardner. GAAMHA, previously known as the Gardner Athol Area Mental Health Association, is using bond proceeds to buy and renovate a 6,870-square-foot building on Central Street in Gardner to use as programming space for people transitioning from addiction recovery to independent living. Part of the building will house a bakery operated by GAAMHA clients, proceeds from which will support the organization, and a portion of the space will be used for peer recovery services provided by the A.E.D. Foundation, which assists individuals and families recovering from drug addiction. The remaining space will be permanent sober housing for 12 individuals. MassDevelopment enhanced the bond with a guarantee, and Enterprise Bank purchased the bond.

“MassDevelopment is pleased this financing will help an organization that works tirelessly to provide compassionate, personalized services, empowering individuals to take steps toward independent living,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “With this bond, GAAMHA can expand to better serve the residents and families of the Gardner area.”

GAAMHA Inc. was established in 1967. Its mission is to provide meaningful support, training, treatment, avenues to employment, and personalized opportunities to individuals with disabilities and substance abuse disorders, and to offer quality transportation services to those who live in the communities it serves.

“This project will allow us to expand GAAMHA’s innovative approach to battling the opioid crisis, which treats the disease comprehensively and combines treatment services, a spectrum of supportive housing options, peer support, and social enterprise to provide vocational training and employment opportunities,” said GAAMHA, Inc. Chief Operating Officer Shawn Hayden. “The historic restoration of this previously dilapidated and vacant building will build on the momentum catalyzed by the City of Gardner and other business owners as we work together to revitalize our downtown. The MassDevelopment bond has been instrumental in making this project a reality.”

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2016, MassDevelopment financed or managed 352 projects generating investment of more than $4 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create about 8,200 jobs and build or rehabilitate about 4,200 residential units.